We’re All in this Together: Responsibility of Collective Agents and Their Members

Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. 30, 2006

28 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2012

Date Written: August 31, 2006

Abstract

Using a Strawsonian approach that draws from the ideas or standards embedded in our practices, I argue that moral agents are characterized by three features: a perspective, a capacity for second order reflection, and sensitivity to moral reasons. I then argue that certain social groups can be moral agents in this sense, and thus can be held responsible for their actions. In response to concerns about how such collective responsibility relates to individual member responsibility, I argue that membership in a collective does not rid us of individual responsibility for our contributory actions. Furthermore, collective membership brings with it special obligations to respond and repair when our collective has acted wrongly.

Keywords: ethics, collective, collective action, practical ethics, moral responsibility

Suggested Citation

Mathiesen, Kay, We’re All in this Together: Responsibility of Collective Agents and Their Members (August 31, 2006). Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. 30, 2006 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2114754

Kay Mathiesen (Contact Author)

Kay Mathiesen ( email )

Boston, MA
United States

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